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  Publicity Stills of
"Jennifer's Body"
20th Century Fox
© 2009

Director: Karyn Kusama
Cast: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody, J.K. Simmons, Johnny Simmons, Chris Pratt, Sal Cortez, Ryan Levine, Juan Riedinger, Colin Askey
RunTime: 1 hr 42 mins
Rating: NC-16 (Sexual References And Violence)
Official Website: http://www.jennifersbody.com/

Opening Day: 29 October 2009


A sexy horror film with a wicked sense of humor, "Jennifer's Body" is about small town high school student Jennifer (Megan Fox), who is possessed by a hungry demon. She transitions from being "high school evil" - gorgeous (and doesn't she know it), stuck up and ultra-attitudinal - to the real deal: evil/evil. The glittering beauty becomes a pale and sickly creature jonesing for a meaty snack, and guys who never stood a chance with the heartless babe, take on new luster in the light of Jennifer's insatiable appetite. Meanwhile, Jennifer's lifelong best friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried), long relegated to living in Jennifer's shadow, must step-up to protect the town's young men, including her nerdy boyfriend Chip (Johnny Simmons).

Movie Review:

Welcome to the world of Diablo Cody.

It is peopled by characters who talk way smarter than they ought to and spew fusion adjectives (e.g. lesbigay) and abbreviations (e.g. J.C. for Jesus Christ).

Cody once said she couldn’t 'function in reality'. Her attempts at writing dialogue reflect just this sort of disconnect from society.

Now, before letting this devolve into a masturbatory exercise at putting down hip slang wunderkind Cody, let’s get down to the movie proper.

The good news: Cody’s grating penchant for hip slang takes a back seat.
The bad news: Cody is less adept when it comes to character and plot development.

Although amusing, Jennifer’s Body is ultimately unsatisfying because it bites off more than it can chew. It wants to be a teen horror but does not provide, ahem, much meat in that department. The body count is low and the kills are devoid of suspense and creativity. At best, they’re gorier versions of those you’ve seen in dramas like Supernatural and The Ghost Whisperer. It doesn’t help that the characters sometimes act illogically adding to the lack of credibility in such scenes.

On the other hand, it also wants to be a black comedy about the Generation Z but its attempts to mine their psychological terrain are scattershot. There are occasional sparks but they never really reach dizzying heights because of the wayward plot. One subplot stands out. It shows the lengths an indie band will go to gain notoriety. Headed by a goth-looking Adam Brody, the band has to sacrifice a virgin to the devil in exchange for instant fame. And the 'virgin' they’ve selected is vavavoom Jennifer. Unfortunately, Jennifer is not who she appears to be and she resurrects as an accursed succubus, who feasts on human flesh and blood. As the body count mounts, the local community seeks solace from the songs of Brody’s band, resulting in their burgeoning popularity. This dialectical relation is compelling but it is conveniently shoved aside for other priorities.

The central relationship between Jennifer and Needy is also a potentially fascinating aspect of the movie but it is superficially treated and lacks credibility. We’re given a glimpse of the complex entanglement of the pair’s forbidden desires and unspoken envy. Yet, the movie doesn’t unravel it fully.

Much of the relationship’s credibility is spoilt by the lack of chemistry between Amanda Seyfried and Megan Fox. I never for once believe that a vamp like Jennifer would stick with the insecure Needy (can it get any more obvious than that?). It’s also hard to buy into the fact that they are best friends simply because they are tied together by the incomprehensible truce of 'sandbox love', another eloquent Cody jargon. The 'black and white' scene, where we see Jennifer and Needy as toddlers, attempts to clarify the pair’s inseparableness, but ends up being nothing more than a Kodak moment. It is cliché, cursory and sticks out like a sore thumb.

If only Cody had spent less time inventing self-referential wisecracks and paid more attention to make the relationship more convincing.

As if this isn’t underwhelming enough, Cody introduces a lesbian scene that has no depth and complicates the already under explained relationship between Jennifer and Needy. Gratuitously shot with lingering close-ups that exploit Megan Fox’s tongue, it exists solely to indulge twisted male fantasies.

One wonders how Jennifer’s Body will turn out if it had been placed in the directorial hands of satirical master, Alexander Payne, who made the adept black comedy Election.

For a movie that features teenagers talking way smarter than they ought to, Jennifer’s Body is surprisingly mostly quite dumb. Yet, I must admit I was thoroughly entertained by it.

Perhaps if Cody’s subsequent screenwriting attempts fail, she might consider writing a dictionary of fusion words and hip slang (May I suggest the title "Cody UnCoded"). At least it will earn her royalties that pole dancing won’t.

Movie Rating:

Jennifer’s Body largely belongs to the morgue, but its few satirical sparks and amusing (if preposterous) Cody-speak breathe some life into it.

Review by Adrian Sim


. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

. Boogeyman 2 (2007)

. Teeth (2007)

. Cry Wolf (2005)

. Joyride 2: Dead Ahead DVD (2008)


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